NDP – What has it and what will it achieve?

The Final Submission Draft of the NDP is due to be signed off by the Steering Committee and the Planning Committee on Monday 20th June 2022, with the Steering Committee commencing at 6pm in the Town Council Chambers, and the Planning Committee to be held afterwards at 7pm. These meetings will both be open to the public, and members of the public may register to address the Committee by emailing Georgie Elliston at planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Below is a summary outlining the NDP’s purpose, as well as current and predicted achievements throughout its progression.

  1. The NDP is part of the Statutory Planning Process and therefore has ‘statutory weight’ in considering planning applications. It will also add local detail to the existing and emerging Local Plan.
  1. The NDP precedes the emerging SDC’s Local Plan and will therefore introduce important new policies around such issues as biodiversity, net gain and managing surface water to reduce risk of flooding.
  1. The NDP identifies design principles and the benefits that should be delivered as part of potential development on vacant and under-utilised sites in the town.  This includes guidance on the scale and massing of development that would be appropriate. Whilst site capacities have been removed from the main text of the NDP on planning advice, reference remaining in the consultation appendix, this guidance will be important to delivering appropriate development on the identified sites.
  1. There have been several planning applications submitted over the last year where it was agreed if the NDP had been in place it would have helped oppose such applications. The NDP puts in place a policy whereby ‘The Town Council will normally require major planning applications to be submitted to a Design Review Panel for review early in the planning process’.  Had this been in place, this could have addressed for instance, public concerns with parking provision and housing density at the Sevenoaks gasholder site, concerns about medical provision at the Tarmac Quarry site, the bulk mass of the design at Berkley House.
  1. The NDP has been updated and incorporates climate change aspirations and initiatives
  1. Promoting safe walking and cycle routes via – reinvigorating the dormant Cycle Strategy, supported 20 mph proposals
  1. Introduced proposals for a Cultural Quarter and improvements to Public Realm
  1. Identifying and in some cases progressing enhanced community and sports facilities
  • Bat & Ball Station and Access Ramp
  • Bat & Ball Centre (identified as a priority and refurbished as per Policy COM1, which has been widely successful and benefited the community especially throughout COVID-19)
  • Business Hub
  • Sevenoaks Day Nursery development
  • 3G Hockey Pitch at Hollybush Rec
  • Greatness Football Pavilion
  • Oast House
  1. Identified objectives supported by the community
  1. Policies relating to protection of Sevenoaks character, heritage, and identity
  1. Proposals to develop and enhance key areas of the town including Station Square
  1. Proposals for new blue and green infrastructure including additional allotments and further protection of current.
  1. Proposals for improvements to Bat & Ball junction
  1. Proposals for development of key sites that would not have otherwise been identified as the District Council requires site owners’ agreement and a demonstration that sites are deliverable within the Local Plan period to allocate them.  E.g., Edwards Electrical site.
  1. Engaged residents in the process formally and informally (see consultation statement), and most importantly reflected these in the NDP and voted for in  a referendum rather than local council committee.  The initial public response identified the following most important objectives:
  • Improve the areas that detract from the positive character of the town
  • Undertake an Integrated Transport Study
  • Improve the gateways into and out of the town, including the stations
  • Protect the architectural characteristics of the town
  • Retain pathways, historic alleyways and promote for pedestrian use
  • Support tree retention and tree planting
  • Protect green belt and green spaces
  • Promote an effective pedestrian, cycling and vehicle strategy
  • Consider inclusion of Sevenoaks in TFL’s Oyster Card charging zone
  • Consider 20 mph speed limits in areas of town
  1. Due to the length of time to develop the NDP some supporting documents will need review and updating, although key principles remain – this should be part of the future NDP Action Plan
  1. Provides an overall indicative development plan for lobbying for additional infrastructure e.g., health and education facilities.
  1. Having the NDP adopted and in place, with its policies on high quality housing and design guidance reduces the risk of unwanted development from developers that would have otherwise been able to push the application through due to the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Any questions may be directed to Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk: planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Registering to speak at a Committee meeting is done so on a first-come first-served basis, and interest must be registered before 12noon the day of the meeting.

Submission Draft of Sevenoaks Town Council’s NDP, along with supporting documents, to be signed-off on 20th June 2022 by the Steering Committee and Planning Committee

The Submission Draft of Sevenoaks Town Council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan, along with its supporting documents, are now available to view online.

These are due to be reviewed and signed-off by the Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee and the Sevenoaks Town Council Planning Committee on 20th June 2022.

Please click below to access each document, as prepared by Sevenoaks Town Council’s consultant, Hugo Nowell of Urban Initiatives Studio.

Final Submission Draft – with appendices

Consultation Statement

Basic Conditions Statement

Neighbourhood Plan designated area plan

Changes to the NDP Final Draft 2022 as per Statutory Consultee’s requirements approved by Planning Committee 10-01-2022

On 10th January 2022, Sevenoaks Town Council’s Planning Committee (Working Party) received an update report from its consultant for the NDP, Hugo Nowell of Urban Initiatives Studio. This included edits made to the 13 sites the NDP supports for future development, revised in line with comments and approval of Historic England.

The full written report may be viewed in full below, and the verbal report (See Youtube timestamp 0:00-11:03) and later debate (See Youtube timestamp 1:01:20-1:26:29) may be watched on Youtube via this link.

Upon receiving this report, the Planning Committee Working Party discussed the implications of removing the design quantums and guidance on height and density, with Cllr Clayton voicing concerns that the edited version would not be supported at referendum. However, the Chief Executive and NDP consultant Hugo Nowell explained that, whilst principles that guide height scale, height and massing of development may be retained in the plan, guidance on potential development quantums and densities need to be removed, as the sites will not be allocated in the NDP. The NDP can then be accepted by the District Council for independent examination and referendum without significant further investigation and delays.

It was RESOLVED that the edits be approved.

Further updates may be expected once the Strategic Environmental Assessment Report is completed by AECOM and send to Statutory Consultees, and next steps will include presenting the Final 2022 Draft to the Steering Committee for approval.

Any questions may be directed to Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk: planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Sevenoaks Town Council’s NDP December 2021 Final Draft published with Progress Update

Sevenoaks Town Council’s (STC) emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan (Final December 2021 Draft) is in the process of having a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) completed by AECOM, prior to its submission stage. In order to minimise any delays to the plan’s submission to Sevenoaks District Council, STC have been working closely with AECOM to make edits to the Neighbourhood Development Plan throughout this process, as opposed to waiting for the Report to be finalised.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment has made the following progress:

  • 2nd November: The Scoping Report for the SEA, which proposes objectives and assessment questions to be included in the final document, came back from Statutory Consultees.
  • 15th November: AECOM produced a high level appraisal of the NDP’s policies, to be included within the SEA Environmental Report. This found that the NDP policies and aims perform favourably in sustainability terms, and also suggested edits, which have been incorporated in the final draft. All edits that have been made to the NDP are outlined below and the updated, final draft version of the NDP December 2021 is available to view and download here.
  • To date: AECOM continue to progress with the SEA Environmental Report with the hopes of it going to Statutory Consultees in December 2021. On receipt of the Statutory Consultee responses, a Town Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee will be arranged to discuss the feedback received, as well as next steps. This meeting will be open to the public and announced in due course.

Outline of changes made to the NDP Final Draft December 2021):

  • Page 11 – Policy L2 text revised to add note re drainage infrastructure
  • Page 15 – Policy D1 text amended to make clear that sites are not allocated
  • Page 21 – Addition of text re SEA
  • Page 40 – Additional notes added re heritage impact assessments and archaeological evaluations (supporting text to Policy C1)
  • Page 48 – Reference to the use of biodiversity metric tools to calculate biodiversity net gain. (supporting text to Policy L1)
  • Page 49 – Policy L2 text revised to add note re drainage infrastructure
  • Page 68 – Policy D1 reworded to make it clear that sites are not allocated.
  • Pages 70-76 – Development quantums removed from all site guidance and redlines removed from figures
  • Page 79 – Development quantums removed from guidance  on Tarmac site and redline removed from figure
  • Page 81 – additional notes on sourcing of local materials and on retrofitting properties added (supporting text to Policy D6)

Any questions regarding the above information may be forwarded to Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk at planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Update on the progress of the NDP’s Strategic Environmental Assessment

As previously reported, Sevenoaks Town Council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) was recommended as requiring a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) by one of its Statutory Consultees.

An SEA addresses various themes within an NDP, including but not limited to: Air Quality, Biodiversity and Geodiversity, Community Wellbeing and Climate Change. It evaluates whether the allocations and/or proposals in an emerging NDP effectively address these themes in the relevant context of the area. For instance, due to the town’s rich history, Sevenoaks Town Council’s NDP will need to be evaluated on whether its proposals will protect, conserve and enhance heritage assets within the NDP area.

Following its successful application to Locality for Technical Support to fund the production of this document, STC was allocated an AECOM lead consultant to progress the SEA on its behalf.

The Scoping Report for the SEA, which outlines the questions that AECOM has identified the NDP as needing to address, went out to Statutory Consultees Historic England, Natural England and Environment Agency on 28th September 2021. This consultation period of 5 weeks is due to end on 2nd November 2021, after which AECOM will discuss the responses with Sevenoaks Town Council and Reasonable Alternatives to any concerns raised.

The amended predicted timeline for the progression of the NDP therefore, is as follows. This is subject to review and amendment following Statutory Consultee responses and is primarily intended to give an estimation of the NDP’s progress to interested parties.

Any questions regarding the above information may be forwarded to Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk at planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Changes to predicted NDP Timetable following Statutory Consultee’s recommendation that STC obtain a Strategic Environmental Assessment:

Following the receipt of Scoping Opinions from Sevenoaks Town Council’s (STC) Statutory Consultees over whether we should obtain a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), the previous predictions for the Neighbourhood Development Plan’s (NDP) timescale of progress are now out of date.

Sevenoaks Town Council completed their Technical Support Application to Locality on 6th July 2021 and expect to hear back on whether it will be Granted or not by end of July. If successful, a consultant from AECOM will be appointed and the SEA completed in a predicted 8-12 week time-frame.

Taking this into consideration, the below table displays the predicted timeline of progress that we expect to see, should the Application be successful.

In the event that it is unsuccessful, this timeline will need to be reviewed, however, the Town Council is working to minimise the delay that this could cause by seeking independent quotes for the SEA in tandem with their application.

Any questions regarding this may be sent to the Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk at planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Sevenoaks Town Council Neighbourhood Development Plan’s Vision

The main goal of the Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan is to set out objectives that will aid the fulfilment of the below vision of what Sevenoaks Town will look like in 2038. It takes into consideration the health and wellbeing of residents living within the Neighbourhood Development Plan area as well as the the nationally declared climate emergency. The Neighbourhood Plan draws upon the town’s existing strengths, reflects the positive qualities identified by the local community and identities a number of challenges and opportunities.

A Vision of Sevenoaks in 2038

‘Sevenoaks will continue to be a successful and friendly market town set on the Greensand Ridge that takes advantage of its good connections and easy access to open countryside and to London. It will continue to have a strong sense of community with an active network of volunteers. The town will be proud of its history and the legacy of fine historic buildings, spanning six centuries, that contribute to an attractive townscape in its leafy streets.

However, Sevenoaks will not be stuck in the past but firmly wedded to the future and the quality of life of its children and their children to come. As one of the UK’s first carbon zero towns, Sevenoaks will be environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. Despite its undulating topography, walking and cycling will be the standard mode of travel with a network of safe walking and cycling routes that provide access to the towns excellent schools and to recreational and employment opportunities. New buildings in Sevenoaks will be built to the highest environmental standards and the town will celebrate its connection with the surrounding landscape that the views to the Kent Downs provide.

The town centre will continue to provide a good mix of shops, including many independent traders, and provide a rich cultural offer within an emerging cultural quarter and thriving markets. The centre will be easy to access and provides attractive streets and spaces for locals and visitors alike. Residents will live in a variety of homes set within well-kept neighbourhoods and also benefit from convenient neighbourhood centres at St John’s, Tubs Hill and Hollybush Lane.

Knole Park, Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Greatness Lake and Recreation Ground will provide a unique and rich natural environment for both active sports and quiet contemplation, and the town is proud of its remarkable trees.

The town will be protective of its landscape assets but also recognises the need to plan for and deliver new homes and community facilities to provide for future generations. Sevenoaks will celebrate its uniqueness, protects its special assets and plan for future prosperity!’

The objectives of Sevenoaks Neighbourhood Development build the potential to:

  • Respond positively to climate change and encourage a more sustainable approach to both land use and lifestyle choices;
  • Enhance and preserve the town’s heritage assets and special open spaces
  • Enhance the arrival experience into the town to create a more welcoming impression;
  • Enhance the town’s network of roads, footpaths and cycling routes to improve connections and create a safer and more attractive environment for users;
  • Improve access to, and better connect, the town’s open spaces;
  • Regenerate and revitalise the Northern Sevenoaks area around Bat and Ball station;
  • Deliver a sustainable expansion at Greatness, on land currently being worked to extract sand by Tarmac Ltd. (subject to release from the Green Belt) in order to deliver new homes to meet local needs;
  • Unlock new opportunities for leisure, recreation and community infrastructure – including a new watersports lake as part of this development;
  • Grow the town’s economy and support the creation of new jobs;
  • Deliver new community assets including a new Community Centre at Bat and Ball and new health and education provision;
  • Deliver enhanced recreational and sports facilities and education provision; and
  • Enhance the town’s thriving cultural scene.

The final draft for the Sevenoaks Neighbourhood Development Plan has been completed and was posted on the Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan website on 12th April 2021, available to view via this link.

Once the Neighbourhood Plan draft has been signed off by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, it will be submitted formally to Sevenoaks District Council, with the Basic Conditions Statement and Consultation Statement. They will then organise the six week publication, examination, and referendum.

News and updates on the Neighbourhood Development Plan can be found via the following link: News – Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan (wordpress.com)

If you have any queries, please contact:

Georgie Elliston


10th May 2021

Update on the Neighbourhood Plan Progress

The final draft for the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) has now been completed and can be viewed by the link below.

Changes include:
– Taking into account comments made through the Regulation 14 Consultation
– Changes agreed with the NP Steering Group.
– The plan is now prepared to reference the Core Strategy and ADMP documents.

The next steps are to prepare the Basic Conditions Statement and Consultation Statement. Once the NP draft has been signed off by the NP Steering Group, this will be submitted formally to Sevenoaks District Council, and a SEA Scoping Opinion obtained.

Consultation Results Document available to view

A report detailing all the feedback received during the 2020 Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Period is now available to view.

The feedback will be discussed by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee on the 12th January 2021, and then again by the Planning Committee on the 25th January 2021.

The document can be found on the 2020 Consultation Response Document page.